On Friday, January 5 and Saturday, January 6th, Fr. Phil is going to do House Blessings. He is going to bless as many homes as possible in 24 hours with a goal of 100. He will need drivers and willing addressees to bless. It will mean blessing by quadrant, so with the Church as center point, the blessing will go as follows:
Friday 1/5 - 4 - 8 p.m.: Southeast - 8 p.m. -Midnight: Southwest
Saturday 1/6 - 8 a.m. to noon: Northeast - Noon to 4 p.m.: Northwest (see the map below if you don't know where you are)
To find out more about this project, follow this link >
You can sign up! The sign-up sheet is linked here and offers you the opportunity to volunteer to drive as well as the opportunity to have your house blessed.
I have reserved "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" for the months of January and February, with the consensus being that we all needed extra time for holiday activities. I will have it to distribute on January 7, with the thought that our next meeting will be Sunday, February 25, following the 10 am service. Please let me know if this date does not work with your schedule.
Happy Holidays to all! Suzanne
The recurring theme of the lessons and sermon on November 26 was from Matthew:
'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
Here is a sample of what Church of the Holy Spirit is doing.
Thanks to June Filipski for the story and photos.
Culinary Angels continue to meet twice a month to prepare meals for those who have been homeless and now continue to receive support from Family Promise. Just before Thanksgiving, 45 servings of ham and potatoes were prepared along with many side dishes. Nine folks gathered for just an hour on a Monday evening to package all of the dishes. As you can see, the refrigerator is filled with eights bins of food ready to be delivered on Tuesday morning.
Wouldn’t you like to assist your church feed the hungry? For more information on how you can help, click on Culinary Angels under Serving Others.
Seamen's Church Institute: Christmas at Sea:
Thanks to the help of many parishioners, we were able to deliver 27 scarves, 9 fabric bags to hold the gifts, individually wrapped snacks and lots of sample sized toiletries. Katie and Karen should be recognized for the fastest crochet hooks, as they made the majority of the scarves. And a big thanks to whoever supplied the amazing number of dental floss samples.
Christmas at Sea is a fun way that we can support the myriad of mariners who work to supply us with the many items we use daily. However, Seamen's Church Institute also does very important work to improve laws and practices that protect mariners and increase the safety and security of the maritime industry. To learn more about the Institute, go to http://seamenschurch.org
A Note on an Expanded Advent
Advent is not a count-down to Christmas. Nor is it a mini-Lent. Advent is its very own season in the Church Year. Advent is a subversive and counter-cultural conspiracy by the followers of Jesus to focus on the Reign of God/Kingdom of Heaven. Here, as its citizens, we engage ever more deeply in Christ’s mission of peace, justice, and the integrity of creation. While this stands in opposition to the global Christmas culture, Advent also elevates our spiritual understanding of the life of Christ, from Bethlehem to Calvary and beyond. Starting Advent in November would, at least, give the primary focus of the season a chance before we are all overcome by carols in Mall music. The second reason for an expanded season has to do with setting before us in our worship, rooted in Scripture, an alternative and more authentic and positive vision of the “end times” or the “reign of God” than those otherwise offered in fundamentalist versions. We at Church of the Holy Spirit quite rightly plumb the depths and riches of grace, mercy, justice, and wisdom during this season of mystery.
All parishioners and friends are invited to join the upcoming Theology on Tap sessions for Advent Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 PM, at the Wunderbar on Route 22 West. The setting is unconventional and the discussions are thought-provoking. We begin a new book, What Are We Waiting For? by William Peterson, on the experience of an extended Advent. A plus is the Wunderbar’s menu of German specialties and micro-brews. Combine a night out with spiritual refreshment. Contact Father Phil for more information.
Help Contribute to the Greening of the Church
Christmas flower donations due by December 10th
Christmas flower envelopes for your donations towards Christmas flowers and greens for the “greening” of the church will be available beginning November 19 on the table in the Narthex. Donations are due by December 10th to ensure that the names of the people for whom the donation is being made are included in the Christmas bulletin. To submit your donation:
On the envelope, include your name and the name(s) for whom the donation is being made and whether it is a memorial or in thanksgiving. Please write clearly.
Put your donation ($35 is suggested) in the envelope and place it in the collection plate on any Sunday, in the Altar Guild mailbox (in the hallway by the lower entrance), or return it to the office.
Greening of the Church Sunday, December 17th.
Join us after the 10 am service on December 17th to help decorate the church for Christmas. The Altar Guild supplies the greens, wreaths, Poinsettia plants, bows and some guidance to decorate the sanctuary. You don’t have to be an interior decorator to help — every pair of hands is welcome. We’ll also set up the Christmas tree and the nativity scene. Come join the fun and be amazed at how beautiful our sanctuary looks when we are finished!
"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots” Isaiah 11:1. Jesse was King David’s father. The image of a branch growing out of the roots of Jesse points to a new king in David’s line. We know that this is fulfilled in Jesus, the King of Kings, who is a descendant of Jesse.
During the Advent season, a symbolic Branch of Jesse will be decorating our Narthex. The Branch is a representation that connects God’s faithfulness through the Old Testament to the newness in the form of the birth of Jesus. Just as God gave us the gift of life through Jesus Christ, we will share this hope with others in our community through the giving of Christmas gifts.
This year the Giving Branch will hold tags for our friends at Freedom House (a half-way house for men) and their Family Afterward program, Good News Home (a drug/alcohol abuse treatment center for women), Anderson House (a half-way house for women), and Cristo Rey. Each tag will contain information about the recipient such as gender, age, requests, sizes, and needs.
The Giving Branch tags will be available on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (11/19). There will be enough tags on the branch so that each family may choose one or more as they are able. There will be a printed registry for each group on the table below the dove in the Narthex. After you choose your tags, please sign your name and phone number on the registries next to the tag numbers that you have chosen. We ask that you limit the amount you spend on each person to approximately $25 to make it equitable for all – givers and recipients. Additional instructions will be available when you take your tag(s). Please be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully.
Please bring your gifts to the Narthex with the ORIGINAL TAG SECURELY ATTACHED by Sunday, December 10th to provide time for sorting, tracking down missing gifts and delivering them to their designated places. If you have any questions, please contact Deanne Altom at 908-534-3425 (email@example.com) or Michelle Marlow at 908-884-6932 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for helping to make the holiday a bit happier for someone less fortunate!
Wondering what to do with all the excess Halloween candy? Check out “Operation Gratitude” to learn how we can donate it to military Christmas boxes. Bring it to Church of the Holy Spirit for or Veterans Haven North box for delivery to homeless veterans by December 15. Please make sure all donations are in unopened packages!!
Veterans' Haven North
The last pick up and delivery for 2017 to Veterans’ Haven North will be on Friday morning, December 15. This includes any candy. Thanks so much for all the wonderful support from our family here at Church of the Holy Spirit for homeless veterans of New Jersey. For tax purposes, if anyone needs a receipt for their 2017 donations to VHN please contact Judy at email@example.com and provide the estimated value and approximate dates of your donations. Again, THANK YOU!
The State of New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs operates Veteran's Haven North, a halfway house for homeless veterans, in Glen Gardner. The house is in constant need of consumable items which are presented to each new resident as they enter the program.
The following is a "Wish List" of their current most acute needs:
There will be a box in the church narthex labeled Veteran's Haven North for our donations to these men and women who have served. Thank you for your help.
Any questions can be directed to Judy Linger at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell number (772) 321-4885.
Love to bike ride? Would you like new friends to ride with? Want to explore new trails? A new biking group has formed led by parishioners Dale Dabour and Eva Lesniak! We will try to meet once a month in the nicer weather! If you are interested in joining us, please email Dale Dabour at email@example.com. Also look for Holy Spirit Peddlers on Facebook! All ages and ability levels are welcome!